It’s easy (they say), push yourself out of your comfort zone, go meet those people, go networking, just ask for a higher price (or many other horrendous things). Why would you want to get out of your comfort zone, it hurts!
Who are the people saying you should live life outside of your comfort zone, they’re not introverts I’m sure of that! Yet, growth doesn’t occur in one’s comfort zone. Here’s an idea for introverts to grow, without the sickening lurch of leaving your comfort zone.
What’s your comfort zone?
That place where you’re comfortable and not creating fear, panic or adrenaline anxiety by doing things you don’t feel comfortable with. What represents your comfort zone at work?
It’s good, you work well in it and at times it’s the right place to be.
Does it seem as if the alternative is to keep pushing outside of it, always “learning”, but creating stress, anxiety and burnout.
Why are you told to leave your comfort zone?
Why, as an introvert, would you burst through your comfort zone and “put yourself out there”? It might be the way that adrenaline loving extraverts grow and push themselves, but we don’t all work like that!
If you always do, what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.
If you always stay where you’re most comfortable, nothing changes. It’s like a cold frosty morning with the sun streaming in through the window as you lay under a warm duvet. There’s a simple choice stay comfortable and warm or get up and enjoy the day.
Stretch your comfort zone
On that cold and sunny morning I cheated! I got up, wrapped in my duvet, taking my comfort zone with me to the kitchen (got tea) and then to the sofa. I stretched my comfort zone a bit, and a bit more later (yes, I did get up and go out). By the way, my excuse was a broken heating system.
Comfort zone plus 5%
What, for you, represents 5%? It’s just stretching your comfort zone, without causing much pain.
- A networking meeting, with only 10 people?
- Making those three phone calls?
- What little extra could you do, without letting panic take over?
If you can be just over the edge of your comfort zone, where you can get back quickly, you can grow and stay safe. Growth happens at the edge of your comfort zone as that’s where you’ll get new experiences, but learning is no good if you’re stressed, petrified or burning out.
Warning – It’s like going to the gym
Well done, you did it, you learnt, you grew and you’re happy to try it again. You’ve stretched your comfort zone. Here’s the warning!
Ever been to the gym, worked hard and built up more muscle only to stop going for a few weeks? Guess what, you’re back where you started!
It’s the time of year where I’m thinking about the ski slopes. Two years ago, I worked really hard on my skiing and even enjoyed some red runs. But a year later, after having not been on skis, I could barely stand up on the stupid bits of fibreglass let alone think about sliding over ice at 50mph! This year I went to an indoor slope a few times, so am ready for the Alps in January.
Much better is to stretch your comfort zone slightly and hold it out there. What do you need to do, on a regular basis, that pushes you without making you too uncomfortable? What’s the new habit you need?
Stretch your comfort zone and grow, don’t break yourself.